Did David Ortiz get a free pass?
Of course he did. That’s what happens to heroes around here.
I blame John Lackey for starting this whole mess. After Nelson Cruz tattooed him with a 5-for-5 performance -- just a triple short of the cycle -- on Saturday night, Lackey told the media we should refresh our memories about Cruz, who was suspended for 50 games last year for violation of MLB's drug policy.
In response to Lackey’s idiotic statement, Orioles manager Buck Showalter suggested Lackey look in his own backyard -- meaning at David Ortiz -- before talking about other players. Former big-league pitcher Joe Magrane said on MLB Network that Oritz has received a free pass regarding his alleged PED use.
We know Cruz tested positive. It was leaked that Ortiz’s name was on a list of players who tested positive during the sample year of 2003. Ortiz has never officially flunked a PED test. But that doesn’t mean he hasn't been given a free pass around here.
In my opinion, performance-enhancing drugs are a way of life in all sports. Can I prove it? If I dedicated my life to the cause, I probably could. Do I want to? Not a chance.
What I'm saying is that it is okay to admit we've given Diva Dave a free ride around here. That’s what we do with athletes who win championships for us.
For example: Tom Brady’s name came up during the investigation of Greg Anderson – Barry Bonds' trainer – regarding PED distribution. Anderson and Brady both said they've had only one conversation, when Tom called Greg while he was looking for a gym. Okay, whatever. No one from the so-called tough Boston media (I'm pointing the finger at myself, by the way) followed up. There was smoke, but no one wanted to know if there was fire. Including me.
Brady's also had a child out of wedlock. (I have no problem with this, by the way.) It seems he and actress Bridget Moynahan, the mother of his son, have buried the hatchet and get along well for the sake of their child, as they should. But a child without wedding bells? Even in today's looser society, this is a no-no. But Tom's a nice guy who's won Super Bowls, so it wasn’t an issue. Players in other leagues and sports have not received similar forgiveness.
When Robert Parish’s number was retired at halftime of a Celtics-Pacers game, the National Organization of Women picketed out front because Parish’s wife alleged in an SI article that the Chief had hit her during their marriage. (It was reported that Parish said if he ever laid a hand on his wife, it was in self-defense.) While Parish was being honored at center court -- with his fellow Big Three-mates Larry Bird and Kevin McHale by his side -- the picketing fell on deaf ears. In fact, NOW was mocked and laughed at by some members of the media. In this country Parish is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but domestic violence, alleged or proved, is not funny. But Parish helped raise banners.
So yes, Diva Dave, you got a free pass, just like many other local heroes over the years. Do I think PEDs helped your career the way they helped Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds? Yes, I do. Can I prove it? No. Do I want to? No.
And you’re lucky everyone in New England feels like I do.